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Ken Ramen Is Dead, Long Live Pikaichi

Will have to try. New to Boston and miss nyc ramen scene. Tried Sapporo in Peter xchange - terrible. At Mentei right now - roast pork/soy sauce broth is not good - mayb pikaichi will b a step up

Mar 30, 2011
cocoman in Features

Pizza at Motorino

OK, this place was bound to dissapoint considering the hype. Overall, I would say its "not bad". The crust is very good in a sort of Naan style bread way though its hard to even compare to the classic styles of Totonno's Coney Island and company.

The brussels sprouts are unique and very good but not spectacular. The mushroom/sausage and margerhita were both decent. Overall, nice place, good pizza. Would be fine as a neighborhood joint but is definitely not a destination pizza place here in NYC.

349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

Mar 17, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Brunch in Murray Hill

PS 450 is open? I remember going to look for it a year ago or so and thought it closed. Will have to go back. Thanks.

Mar 14, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Brunch in Murray Hill

Thanks. I have been meaning to hit Resto (everyone raves about the burger but I hadn't heard about brunch yet) and will check out Maialino.

Mar 14, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Brunch in Murray Hill

I am hoping to get some suggestions on great brunches in Murray Hill. I realize that great food and Murray Hill can be a bit of an oxymoron but my recent discovery of Chez Le Chef has given me hope that there may be other hidden gems both new and old in the area. I will start with the places I already know

Chez Le Chef - great brunch, french breads and pastries baked on premises by old school french chef. Rare gem.

Penelope's - the goto brunch place in Murray Hill. Nice, cozy atmosphere, decent food, long waits. The only place in the area that evokes the EV, LES, Brooklyn brunch vibe.

La Petite Albeile (not really Murray Hill but we need all the help we can get) - 1 of small chain in the city doing Belgian food, nice brunch, no wait, lots of space - hamburger is excellent, waffles pretty good and some decent egg dishes

Inoteca ( the one on 3rd ave and 24th, also not really Murray Hill but same as above)- same pros and cons as the one in the LES, nice Italian style brunch

Mar 14, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Rare find in Murray Hill - Tasty, offbeat, no wait brunch

We have lived for more than a decade in Murray Hill and have suffered the culinary consequences. So we spend most of our eating time out of the neighborhood. Brunch is particularly bad in our area with Penelope's being the only decent brunch (nice atmosphere not amazing food). Today we decided not to wait the 1-1.5 hour wait and walked further down Lexington to 29th st. So we feel guilty to report that we have passed Chez Le Chef maybe 100 times in the past and never ventured in. Today we went in and what a pleasant surprise. The place is overwhelmed with kitschy decor and a bit cramped downstairs but to our surprise there is nice seating upstairs as well. The owner/chef Frederic walks around in a chef's hat and a big smile. The place has been open 20 years and now we know why. We had the special of the day pain perdue (french toast) which had caramelized bananas. The dish was very good, not too sweat and clearly made with care. A nice sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on top as well. The other entree was scrambled eggs with garden fresh veggies to which we added cheese. I have to say I was apprehensive. The menu description was simple and did not use any of the buzz words of modern menus. The result: a fantastic dish. The eggs were mixed with at least 8 different veggies (aspargus, broccoli, mushrooms, corn, etc), it was evenly coated with a great herb heavy coating and overstuffed into sourdough bread. For a veggie lover, really some of the best eggs I have had in a while - it reminded me of something we make at home. My wife who is a meatarian even loved it. We also had some excellent cappuccino and the fresh fruit smoothie was refreshing, not too sweet and quite delicious. On the way out we tried to pick up some fresh croissant with chocolate but he was all out. He said everything is baked fresh on premises each morning (what a rarity in Murray Hill). We are gonna head back at around 10 am next time to get them hot (FYI, the chocolate variety is only served on Thurs-Sun). Overall, a real gem of a meal (affordable to boot). We feel silly having missed out on it all of these years but will be regulars now. We only hope it stays open a long time (Frederic had a heart attack 3 years ago he said and he implied he my not push himself much longer especially considering the economy). Let's hope this oasis in Murray Hill endures!

Chez Le Chef
127 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Mar 14, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Where can I get the best ramen in NYC?

We still love men kui tei best compared to Ippudo, minca, setagay and terakawa but have yet to go to menchanko te or rai rai. Recommend the pork broth with extra pork as they have great pork. Their miso broth is ok (minca's may be better) and the special fish broth (see white piece of paper on the wall) is also tasty.

Men Kui Tei
60 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

Jan 01, 2010
cocoman in Manhattan

Under the Radar - East Village Recs

wow, tried the redhead, really great food. fried chicken is amazing and the low country shrimp is equally great. tasty and reasonable, great atmosphere and nice waitstaff. gonna have to try the bacon peanut brittle next time.

The Redhead
349 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

Nov 07, 2009
cocoman in Manhattan

Chinese in Theatre District? Pl. help

I would go to Szechuan Gourmet. 21 W 39th Street, very authentic Szechuan, went once on a CH recommendation and really liked it.

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

Nov 07, 2009
cocoman in Manhattan

Murray Hill Restaurant Suggestions - GOOD ONES

Here is my take on Murray Hill as someone who has lived here for 10 years or so and agrees with the original post - most nights you need to leave to get very good food.

Trattoria Alba - very solid Italian, for the area, top notch- try the mushroom/truffle pizza
Ali Baba - very good turkish
Cosette - nice French bistro, very traditional menu
Phoenix Garden - authentic Cantonese (though on edge of neighborhood)
Baoguette - not really Murray Hill but waking distance and has great Bahn Mi
Artisinal - great fondue, expensive though
Pizza - Patsy's and Totonno's are both pretty good but not elite thin crust joints

Casaville - good drinks, nice atmosphere, ok food, nothing special
Byblos - traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, a Syrian friend of mine says best in area but I was not impressed
Ethos - passable Greek at best

Pio Pio - unimpressive, no better than any rotisserie chicken joint and more expensive
All the Thai food, head to Wondee Siam instead, its worth the trip
Mexican - None

Phoenix Garden
242 E 40th St, New York, NY 10016

2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
212 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

200 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016

495 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

233 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

635 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

Patsy's Pizzeria
509 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

633 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Pio Pio
210 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

61 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10010

Jul 06, 2009
cocoman in Manhattan

Israel in Spring? Farmer's Market?

I am going to be traveling to Israel in two weeks. I've read quite a few of the postings for great food and am excited to try them all. I have however heard so much about the amazing fruit in Israel during the springtime. Here in NYC I love to wander the Union Square farmer's market with the latest in season fruit, vegetables and flowers available. Can anyone recommend a market in Israel that you can spend a morning and afternoon perusing, eating and shopping?

Apr 12, 2008
cocoman in Middle East & Africa

St. Vartan Cafe - Armenian Church 35th & 2nd

I haven't tried it yet, but as a 10 year veteran of Murray Hill, I can really relate to your suffering in the eating out selection close by.

Sep 03, 2007
cocoman in Manhattan

Does a Chinese restaurant exist in Manhattan that doesn't drown its dishes with brown sauce, black bean sauce or other jarred glop?

Agreed! Have been going to Phoenix since I was a kid (when it was in Chinatown). Makes simple Cantonese dishes really well. Its Pepper Salty Shrimp is excellent as is their apricot chicken, sizzling casseroles, crispy sweet/sour sea bass, ginger scallion seafood (lobster, crab, etc), and a nice simple young chow fried rice.. Service is a bit gruff, but food is great and its BYOB.

Sep 03, 2007
cocoman in Manhattan